I don't know how many of you have ever skinny-dipped, the first time I did this I was in a beautiful large pond in Canada (Saltspring Island) at the tender age of seventeen. It was fabulous, the family we stayed with were very 'real' in an age where image meant a great deal, especially to me, a teenager all too aware of what I thought were physical disadvantages. It was a magical sight to see us all in the water, followed round by the floating candles they'd put out on the most balmy and beautiful night.
I've skinny-dipped elsewhere on my travels, one time on the Isle of Sark, when the beach was empty, it just lent itself. Another time on the Isle of Wight, the Solent was warm just before the tide turned and I couldn't resist it. But what's the attraction?
I do love that feeling of going back to basics. That sensation of being totally free, unencumbered by clothing or any earthly trappings or trimmings including make-up and jewellery. It's that sense of being totally at one with your surroundings, no barriers, just you and the landscape in your rawest form. And it's an intoxicating feeling. It can be liberating, relaxing, enlightening and so much more. I feel it's good sometimes to remember what you are under the clothes labels, and public image. And the oddest thing is the way people respond to you in that environment, when perhaps there would be a social barrier when clothed. It doesn't matter what you look like, or what you think you look like which is more often the problem. People don't care, they just like to see other people happy. The thing I like about groups like this is that there's a broad range of people, all shapes, all sizes, and all ages. Whatever you're worried about is totally irrelevant when you get in there.
We went to a skinny-dipping club tonight, and I was happy to find a good clean pool, excellent facilities including a steam room and sauna, and a friendly but not in-your-face atmosphere. As a fibromyalgia endurer I find a total peace in water. I've watched the Olympics this past week and seen the swimmers at the end of the race and kept telling myself 'I'll be elbows up on the side of the pool soon'. My Dad was keen on swimming, so we were 'launched' at about three years old, and I said tonight I was so grateful. I couldn't imagine life without that pleasure. I got in and found that the usual aches and strains ebbed away with the effect of buoancy. A shoulder that's been pretty buggered since a wrong diagnosis suddenly works a little better. And most of all, there is no restriction in the way of shoulder straps. Nothing to put on, nothing to take off.
It's like stepping out of your normal self, your well-known self. You cast away all inhibitions and with that the stresses and worries go with it. It's a great stress-buster. The effect of the whole thing is that I came away feeling like I had been 'ironed's mentally and physically. Every creak, knot and grickle was given a stern talking to by the beautifully cool pool water interspersed with the steam room for a few minutes. Being naked enhanced this, I know my body has it's problems, but it needs a treat. Why not let it breathe and be free for a while?
There has been a big debate here on Naturism recently, and what's interested me is the younger generation getting involved. I see this as a fight back against media pressure to look 'like this or like that'. It is a very accepting, tolerant and peaceful environment. And...you get the whole pool/sauna/steam room to yourselves for two hours!!
So who knows where this may lead? Will skinny-dipping and walking around naked perhaps force the media to stop being so stupid and forcing daft body images on to young people? Probably not, knowing them. But, maybe we've found a rebellion to that rule. And I salute them.